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Elliott School of International Affairs

A longtime faculty member of the Elliott School of International Affairs will take over the position of the school’s interim dean next month, according to a University release.

Hugh Agnew, a professor of history and international affairs and the senior associate dean for academic and faculty affairs at the Elliott School, will start his role as interim dean July 1, Provost Steven Lerman announced to the school’s faculty and GW leadership Friday. Agnew will continue in the position until a permanent replacement is announced for dean Michael Brown, who officially steps down from the post on the same date.

Agnew, who came to GW in 1988, said in an interview Monday that he is “humbled” by the appointment and will continue his current duties at the Elliott School while fulfilling the dean’s responsibilities. His plans for the summer include welcoming new faculty arriving at the school for the academic year and maintaining the “rhythm of the school” until the new dean takes over.

“I see my role as carrying this accomplishment into the new hands of the new dean without dropping it,” Agnew said.

Agnew has previously served as associate dean for academic programs and associate dean for faculty affairs at the school. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses primarily focused on eastern Europe, and has written extensively on Czech nationalism.

Brown announced in October that he would leave the dean post at the end of the academic year but would continue in a faculty role at the school. Since then, a dean search committee made up of Elliott School students and faculty vetted candidates and brought them to campus before sending on their top three unranked choices to Lerman and University President Steven Knapp, who will make the final appointment. That announcement is expected to come at some point over the coming weeks although the process can sometimes take longer, search committee chair Jennifer Brinkerhoff said in an email earlier this month.

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Graduate students celebrate the end of the Elliott School of International Affairs Graduation Ceremony in the Smith Center. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Graduate students celebrate the end of the Elliott School of International Affairs Graduation Ceremony in the Smith Center. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

What does former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein and Bruce Springsteen have in common?

They were all mentioned at the Elliott School of International Affairs Celebration Friday afternoon. Speakers at the commencement ceremony held in the Smith Center called upon graduates to not only be leaders in their occupations, but to be positive forces whether their dreams come true or not.

Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, told graduates that as students of The Elliott School, they should have “multi-dream capabilities.”

“If your dream doesn’t come true, get a good night’s sleep and dream another dream,” he said. The ceremony also marked the last time Brown would address the audience as dean.

The  graduates left the building as Springsteen’s “Born to Run” played over the speakers.

1. The city is your cubicle

Nicolas Pedreira, an international affairs major from Argentina, highlighted a few lessons he learned during his four years at GW and spoke about his fellow graduates’ experience interning in the District. He also joked about the impermanence of their work spaces.

“D.C. was our cubicle,” he said. “[As interns,] we never got our own office.”

Pedreira cited The Elliott School’s study abroad programs as an opportunity that proved invaluable. The world, he said, is “one giant classroom,” from chances to work with experts in the field to studying “African wildlife – or the even wilder European nightlife.”

He also asked the Class of 2015 to continue to surround themselves with people “wisely” and to remember the positive impact they could have on the world around them.

“It’s been a privilege to learn alongside you,” he said.

2. Flipping the script

Brown took a leaf out of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s book during his address to the graduates.

Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Dean Michael Brown, who will step down at the end of June, told graduates that it’s good to have plans and goals, but life does not have a script. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Brown, who will step down on June 30, brought a short stack of blank printer paper to the podium and a few minutes into his keynote address to about five thousand, tore them up.

“There is no script for the next ten minutes, two hours or for 2015. There’s no script for life,” he said.

Instead of wishing the graduates luck in their professional endeavors, Brown wished them “love, friendship and happiness.”

After graduates received their degrees, which will be conferred on Sunday, Brown took a moment to honor Ben Cumbo, an Elliot School student who died on April 21 after completing his last degree requirement. Cumbo, who had muscular dystrophy, died the day he received his cap and gown in the mail, Brown said.

3. Guided by a moral compass

Edward Gnehm, a former ambassador to Kuwait, Australia and Jordan, spoke about the difference between a politician and a statesman. He said a statesman, like Margaret Thatcher, was guided by a moral compass.

He encouraged graduates to call upon their values as they move into jobs in their areas of interest, and he also told them to “never lose your vision.”

Like these photos? You can purchase your personal photo from this graduation ceremony online at:

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Madelyne Ashworth.

The president of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank spoke about current events overseas and his career in international affairs on campus Thursday

Richard Haass, the former senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council, came to the Elliott School of International Affairs for the event.

Elliott School Dean Michael Brown moderated the discussion, which was part of a series called “Leadership in International Affairs: Lessons Learned” that invites prominent government and policy leaders to talk about their experiences.

Here are the highlights:

1. A “failed region”

Hassas said the United States’ relationship with Israel was complex and affected by other difficulties in the region, including issues with ISIS.

Haass said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent peace talks will be productive, but acknowledged the potential for disaster and possible “spill over” conflicts in Israel, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region.

“Things have to get worse before they get worse,” he said. “These things only end when outsiders impose or things just burn out… I see this going on for some time.”

2. The U.S. is unique diplomatically

Haass said U.S. relations with both allies and adversaries are in a unique situation, as the United States has found itself in a diplomatic paradox.

He explained that “alliance relationships” need certain levels of predictability. But the nature of the alliances cause difficulties in relationships with countries in conflict with current U.S. allies, including China and Israel, he said.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult period of diplomacy in the operational sense and foreign policy in the conceptual sense,” Haass said.

3. The key to leadership is ensuring plans become reality

Leaders with innovative roles often forget that while creating policy ideas is essential, implementing those policies is even more crucial, as Haass advises future leaders to first remember their role as administrators.

“Eighty percent of life is implementation,” Haass said, adding that forgetting to ensure ideas and policies are feasible can be destructive.

“The biggest mistake of smart people is they think that coming up with the right or best answer is essentially their work, and then they can leave it to others to do it,” he said. “That is the single worst idea you will ever have.”

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Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 11:23 p.m.

The biggest story lines to follow in 2015

In the last year, GW sent the men’s basketball team to the NCAA tournament, launched a $1 billion fundraising campaign and welcomed Stephen Colbert and President Barack Obama to campus during finals week. And in D.C., the city voted for a new mayor and to legalize marijuana.

Here’s a look at what we think is sure to make headlines in 2015:

1. Now hiring

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger stepped down in October. Hatchet File Photo.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger stepped down in October. Hatchet File Photo.

GW always seems to be hiring, and 2015 doesn’t look to be any different. Officials are searching for leaders of two schools – the Elliott School of International Affairs and the School of Nursing – after their deans stepped down in the fall.

Mary Jean Schumann, the interim senior associate dean of academic affairs in the nursing school, will take over Jan. 1 until a permanent leader is picked and replaces former dean Jean Johnson. Provost Steven Lerman said in December that the search for the new dean is wrapping up, though the search committee has kept details quiet since it formed last year.

Dean Michael Brown will step down from his position this spring after leading the Elliott School for a decade. He is the last dean appointed by former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.

The University is also searching for someone to spearhead its $1 billion fundraising campaign after former Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Mike Morsberger left at the end of October.

2. Open for business

Campus favorite Captain Cookie will open a store in The Shops at 2000 Penn. Hatchet File Photo

Campus favorite Captain Cookie will open a store in The Shops at 2000 Penn. Hatchet File Photo

GW students will get to spend time in some brand new spaces in 2015.

The Colonial Health Center will open on campus Jan. 5 after students pushed to bring health services closer to where they live and study. The space will bring Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center to the Marvin Center and link them with the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education.

On a sweeter note, student favorite Captain Cookie will set up shop at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., filling the void left by ice cream parlor Cone E. Island, which closed last spring.

3. Classes in the most expensive academic building on campus

The Science and Engineering Hall will open in January. File photo by Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Science and Engineering Hall will open in January. File Photo by Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The $275 million Science and Engineering Hall, the crown jewel of GW’s construction blitz, will open for classes and research in January.

That opening hasn’t come easy for GW. Officials revamped their plan to pay for the building in November after acknowledging for the first time that the original payment scheme would not work.

GW will count on rent from high-end commercial properties at The Avenue to make up about $250 million, after officials weren’t able to fundraise enough money to cover construction costs.

The building will also have a tenant who’s no stranger to GW: Celebrity chef José Andrés will use retail space on the ground floor for a veggie-based eatery called “Beefsteak.” Andrés headlined University-wide Commencement in May 2014.

4. Campus security updates

UPD, university police

The University Police Department is up for an accreditation review, which could be tested by pending complaints. Hatchet File Photo

There could be a lot in store for the University Police Department over the next year. Officials are looking for a police chief after the department’s former leader, Kevin Hay, retired suddenly last semester.

UPD is up for an accreditation review and could lose its high marks if accreditors are concerned about three complaints filed against the department since March for gender-based, racial or age-based discrimination.

Officials will also release the results of a campus climate survey in the upcoming semester, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed said at December’s Faculty Senate meeting. The anonymous survey, which was conducted last spring, asked students whether they felt safe on campus or had ever engaged in sexual misconduct.

Issuing an anonymous climate survey is one of several benchmarks that a White House task force has touted as an effective way to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

5. Steps forward for peer counseling

Student Association President Nick Gumas pushed for a peer counseling program at the Board of Trustees meeting in October. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Student Association President Nick Gumas pushed for a peer counseling program at the Board of Trustees meeting in October. Hatchet File Photo by Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A peer counseling program, one of the key areas of focus for Student Association President Nick Gumas, could move forward in 2015.

Gumas pushed for the program at a Board of Trustees meeting in October, though administrators have not yet formally committed to the idea. Details still to be decided include creating a training program for students and finding space to house the call center.

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Former National Intelligence Council Chairman Christopher Kojm, now an Elliott School visiting professor, talked about national security and future international challenges with Dean Michael Brown. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Former National Intelligence Council Chairman Christopher Kojm, now an Elliott School visiting professor, talked about national security and future challenges in international relations with Dean Michael Brown. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Genevieve Montinar.

The former chairman of the National Intelligence Council who’s now a visiting professor at GW has some advice for President Barack Obama.

Christopher Kojm sat down for a discussion Thursday with Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, about what has contributed to the demise of national security in the countries highlighted in the NIC’s “Global Trends 2030” report.

A part of a series that focuses on leaders in international development, Kojm offered his own thoughts on how countries can best work together to solve global issues and what role the U.S. president should play.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened:

1. Advice for Obama

Kojm said he would encourage the president to take advantage of the U.S.’s status as a world power to create international partnerships, especially in responding to ISIS.

“We have a remarkable power and influence, and this cannot be addressed without broad international support,” he said. “I think we see the president, certainly in the case of ISIS here seeking to put together a broad coalition of 40 or plus countries together. So coalitions will really matter.”

He added that Obama should concentrate on improving relations with China over the next several years.

“We got lots of problems, lots of issues with China some are quite profound,” he said. “But we also have many areas of commonality and we are finding ways to work together on some questions.”

2. Global trends

The NIC report, “Global Trends 2030,” covered four trends in developing countries. Officials traveled to Beijing, Moscow, Brussels, Singapore and other cities to gather data on individual empowerment, demographics, diffusion of power and growth in the developing world.

“Nobody knows what the world would look like, and we wanted to avoid parochialism and have as broad a perspective as possible in thinking about the future of the international system,” Kojm said.

He said the data showed that 60 percent of the population will live in cities in about 15 years, and urbanization will be an important factor for aid groups to consider as they plan for the future.

Kojm said the report unintentionally has “an added diplomatic benefit.”

“You start a dialogue going with elites around the world about what the future of the world is going to look like and you begin to influence other capitals,” said Kojm

3. “Profound” governmental challenges

Kojm emphasized the importance of strong governance as nations face future dilemmas.

“The challenges governments face – Ebola, proper regulation of information technology, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – collectively, seem to be pretty profound,” he said.

He also mentioned the situations in Spain and Britain where different regions have tried to secede, citing them as examples of the difficulties governments face when trying to exert authority.

4. Lessons in leadership

Kojm included his own experience as a leader in the policy world. He said as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, he made it a point to reach out to senior staffers and listen to what issues concerned them.

“Treat everyone you meet with and work with with dignity,” he said, adding that students shouldn’t ignore any work colleague, no matter his or her status in an organization.

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The Elliott School of International Affairs just secured a presidential appointee to take over a research center next year, the University announced Tuesday.

Allison Macfarlane, chairwoman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will lead GW’s Center for International Science and Technology Policy starting Jan. 1. She will also direct GW’s masters program in international science and technology policy.

Macfarlane has led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since July 2012. She will teach one course at GW next semester called “Energy and Society.”

An expert in nuclear waste issues, Macfarlane oversees the use of radioactive materials for civilian purposes. She previously advised President Barack Obama on how the U.S. should handle high-level nuclear waste as part of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

“I am looking forward to returning to my academic research and to training a new generation of leaders in science and technology policy,” Macfarlane said in a release.

The Elliott School has built up its focus on nuclear issues recently, and it brought Macfarlane to GW to speak in spring 2012 before she was named the agency’s chairwoman.

Elliott School Dean Michael Brown said Macfarlane would bring knowledge of “some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity in the 21st century” to the University.

“Her scholarly expertise has been further extended by her two and a half years of leadership and high-level policy engagement at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Brown said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 1:54 p.m.

Building bridges from diasporas to homelands

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.

Diaspora organizations met Tuesday at the Elliott School of International Affairs to discuss the challenges and positive developments for people who live outside their homeland at the Global Diaspora Media Forum

The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps diaspora communities give back to their homelands, sponsored the day-long forum in partnership with GW’s Center for International Business Education and Research and AudioNow, a “call-to-listen” platform.

The forum focused on the disconnect between diaspora communities and their homeland and bridging that disconnect.

Here are the top three takeaways from the event:

1. Leveraging the media

First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy diaspora is a challenge by the very nature that people can be dispersed around the globe and there isn’t a central physical area to target those populations.

But that gap can be closed through media outlets and technologies to connect members of a diaspora, said Anne Bennett, the executive director of Hirondelle USA, a group that tries to facilitate peaceful democratization.

“There is an enormous potential for greater partners and investment in independent broadcasting.” Bennett said.

2. Investing at home

Some government programs help members of a country’s diaspora more effectively help their original communities.

The Mexican government’s 3×1 program, for example, match funds raised independently to help expatriates invest in their home communities, Deputy Press Secretary at the Mexican Embassy Vanessa Calva said.

“Help from the government really brings the community together and organizes them,” Calva said.

3. Progress in the future

Diasporas have existed for centuries, but new technologies and organizations are transforming the way diasporas stay connected to their homeland.

Part of that innovation lies in startups, from new, targeted media outlets to programs that connect people across a diaspora, Bennett said.

“These are vibrants startups that have huge followings.” Bennett said. “We really are just at the beginning of that.”

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Dave Lawlor, chair of the Innovation Task Force, will begin a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

Dave Lawlor, the chair of the Innovation Task Force, will take a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

One of the University’s top finance officials is leaving Foggy Bottom for a position on the West Coast.

Dave Lawlor, the senior associate vice president for finance, will serve as chief financial officer and vice chancellor of finance and resource management at the University of California, Davis, the institution’s chancellor Linda Katehi announced Tuesday. He will begin his new position Nov. 3.

“I feel very fortunate to move from one world-class institution to another,” Lawlor said in a UC Davis press release. “The financial challenges, opportunities for growth in research and fundraising, globalization factors, and new modes of instruction present similar business decision points.”

Lawlor leaves GW after seven years, during which he also served as chair of the Innovation Task Force, University President Steven Knapp’s signature program to cut costs and create revenue-generating initiatives. Knapp asked the group to find $60 million in savings annually, a goal the ITF has faced setbacks in reaching.

Knapp praised the departing administrator in the UC Davis release, saying “his dedication and his collaborative style enabled the ITF to identify savings and new revenue sources that are having a transformational impact on our university.”

Before coming to GW, Lawlor was chief financial and chief operating officer at PCTEL Maryland, Inc. and also served as vice president of strategy and business development at the Chicago branch of PCTEL, Inc.

With Lawlor’s departure, the University will have to fill the vacancies of three senior administrator who chose to step down this month.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown will step down at the end of the academic year, and Mike Morsberger, vice president for development and alumni relations, announced last week he will leave at the end of the month.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Lawlor was the third senior administrator to announce his departure from the University this month, following Dean Michael Brown and Mike Morsberger. Though he is stepping down from his position as dean, Brown will continue to work at GW as a professor. We regret this error.

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Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position this spring. Hatchet File Photo.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position by the end of the academic year. Hatchet File Photo.

The Elliott School of International Affairs is immediately launching a search for a new leader to replace Dean Michael Brown, University President Steven Knapp said Tuesday.

The search will be GW’s fifth in the last three years, and the second GW will conduct this fall. A committee of Elliott School professors, administrators and students will interview candidates before likely inviting a group of finalists to campus this spring.

Brown, who announced he would step down after a decade at the school’s helm last week, was the last holdover dean from former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s 19-year tenure.

The School of Nursing will continue to search for a replacement for Dean Jean Johnson this fall. Johnson plans to remain in her role as dean until December, Knapp said at a Faculty Assembly meeting Tuesday.

In June 2013, Johnson announced she would step down by the end of the 2014 academic year, but agreed to stay on until a replacement was chosen. The University pushed off the search after the GW School of Business unexpectedly had to find a replacement for former dean Doug Guthrie, who was fired last fall.

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Michael Brown, dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, announced Thursday he plans to step down from his post at the end of this year. Hatchet file photo.

Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, announced Thursday he plans to step down from his post at the end of this academic year. Hatchet File Photo.

Michael Brown will step down as dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the end of this academic year, he announced in an email to faculty Thursday.

Brown, who has led the school for roughly the past decade, told faculty it was “time to pass the baton,” and that he will remain a tenured professor in the Elliott School. He is the University’s longest-serving dean and the last dean from former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s administration.

“I am proud of the progress the Elliott School has made during my time as Dean, and I am proud of our position as one of the best schools of international affairs in the world,” he wrote in the email obtained by the Hatchet. “It has been a privilege to contribute to the advancement of this superb institution.”

He came to GW in August 2005, and has since more than doubled the school’s endowment from about $20 million to $44 million.

Brown has also grown the school’s faculty by about 20 professors, increased its number of research institutes and raised the school’s research profile, strengthening its expertise in regions like the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The school was ranked ninth for undergraduate and seventh for graduate programs in Foreign Policy magazine two years ago.

An expert in international security and conflict studies, Brown wrote that he was interested in taking a sabbatical.

“Over the years, I have approved numerous faculty requests for sabbaticals, and I have become intrigued by the concept,” he wrote. “As it turns out, I have a lot of accumulated research leave and the world has accumulated a lot of security and conflict problems while I have been attending budget meetings in Rice Hall.”

Brown, who is about 60 years old, earned a Ph.D. in government from Cornell University. He previously served as a professor at the the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and served as director of Georgetown’s Center for Peace and Security Studies and director of the master’s program in Security Studies from 2000 to 2005.

He is the University’s fourth dean to step down in the past two years. Jean Johnson, dean of the School of Nursing, also announced in spring 2013 that she plans to take a sabbatical and step back into a faculty role once a replacement is chosen.

Through University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar, Provost Steven Lerman declined to comment on whether a search for a new Elliott School dean would begin this year.

“Mike Brown has been an outstanding leader at GW since he first joined the university nearly a decade ago,” Lerman said in a release. “He has been a tremendous asset to the George Washington community, and I am grateful he will continue to serve as a member of our faculty.”

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